Dominion Energy directs $1M to help small businesses, residents pay energy bills
Businesses can receive up to $1K to pay off accrued bills during pandemic
Virginia small businesses and residential customers can receive additional support to pay their energy bills through Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc.’s EnergyShare program, the company announced Thursday.
Small businesses, nonprofit organizations and houses of worship can receive up to $1,000 to go toward unpaid Dominion Energy Virginia electric bills that have accrued during the pandemic. Due to coronavirus impacts, the utility committed an additional $1 million to its $13 million annual program to help customers in need of bill assistance. Of the funds Dominion Energy committed on Thursday, $500,000 will go toward business needs while the other half is reserved for residential customers. Small businesses will be able to apply beginning Sept. 1.
“While small businesses are focused on resuming their operations, bringing back their workforce and prioritizing the health and safety of their customers and employees, the EnergyShare Small Business Relief Program lends a hand to those at the heart of our economy,” Virginia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barry DuVal said in a statement. “The landscape continues to change due to the ongoing pandemic and many small businesses are in vital need of additional support. That is why the Virginia Chamber Foundation is proud to partner with Dominion Energy on this relief program.”
Dominion is working with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation to extend the reach of the program. The foundation is establishing an advisory council will work to raise program awareness and funds will be administered through the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation. United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg will manage the distribution of funds.
Advisory council members include representatives from the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Asian Foundation, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Hampton Roads, the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Business League of Richmond.
The EnergyShare program is funded through company contributions (not covered by customer rates) and donations from employees, retirees and the public.
“For decades, EnergyShare has helped many in crisis get the financial help they need and this pandemic has made it an even more crucial resource,” Robert Blue, Dominion Energy Virginia co-chief operating officer and executive vice president, said in a statement. “If you’re having trouble paying your bill, we want you to know we’re here to help you find the best solution for your unique situation.”